Resources revised in 2020
These 10 Topics resources below have been updated in 2020 (peer-reviewed by a panel of experts) and will be updated approximately every three years (or more frequently if major new evidence is published).
Click here if you are looking for the original suite of archived 2013–17 resources
10 Topics in reducing harm from falls
The 10 Topics in reducing harm from falls are learning activities for people who want to know more about how to prevent falls and reduce harm from falls in older people.
The 10 Topics:
- raise awareness about the impact of falls on older people
- provide learning activities to support independence for older people, and improve their care
- support the Commission’s national Reducing Harm from Falls programme.
The 10 Topics cover core issues in falls prevention, feature interesting articles that can count as learning activities for professional development hours, and introduce resources, videos and patient stories.
A brief description of what each topic covers is below. See also our recommended evidence-based resources (which include systematic reviews, clinical guidelines and toolkits).
Overview of all 10 Topics
Topic 1 – Falls in older people: the impacts
- outlines how a fall can be a life-changing event for an older person, impacting on their independence and wellbeing, with implications for their family/whānau and significant others
- sets the scene for the 10 Topics and introduces the remaining nine topics
- explains why the national falls programme aimed to prevent falls and reduce harm from falls at individual, health system and population levels by encouraging the implementation of effective interventions
Topic 2 – Which older person is at risk of falling? Ask, assess, act
- explains how to ask about falls to identify older people at risk of falling
- complements Topic 3 (assess) and Topic 4 (act), which together explain the process of asking, assessing and acting to reduce harm from falls
- describes simple screening questions that can identify which older people to target for multifactorial risk factor assessment and interventions tailored to their personal risk factors
Topic 3 – Falls risk assessment: a multifactoral approach
- explains how to identify a person’s risk factors for falling
- complements Topic 2 (ask) and Topic 4 (act), which together explain the process of asking, assessing and acting to reduce harm from falls
- explains how we should systematically check for falls-related risk factors we can do something about
- discusses exploring with the older person and their family/whānau which interventions and supports will work best for them
Topic 4 – Addressing risk factors in an individualised care plan
- covers the importance of using an individualised care plan for each older person when considering and responding to the risk factors for them falling
- explains how to address risk factors
- complements Topic 2 (ask) and Topic 3 (assess), which together explain the process of asking, assessing and acting to reduce harm from falls
- explains why we should adopt an interdisciplinary and individualised approach and how we can achieve such an approach
Topic 5 – Safe environment and safe care are essential to prevent falls
- explains the actions you can take to improve the safety of the environment for older people who risk falling
- examines environmental safety assessment and modification programmes that are successful in reducing falls by older people living in the community who are at risk of falling
- includes required readings on:
- patients’ perspectives of falling in hospital
- recommendations for environmental safety relevant to your setting.
Topic 6 – After a fall: what should happen?
This topic looks at how a fall by an older person requires:
- prompt attention to any injuries
- an investigation of underlying conditions that might have caused the fall
- an assessment and actions focused on reducing the risk of the older person falling again.
Topic 7 – Why hip fracture prevention and care matter
- explains how to reduce the risk of falls-related fracture by treating osteoporosis and how to predict an older person’s risk of hip fracture
- shows that improvements in care for patients with a hip fracture can prevent avoidable complications that compromise recovery.
Topic 8 – Medicines: balancing intended benefits and increased falls risks
- provides an overview of medicines associated with an increased risk of falling or falls-related harm
- looks at how reducing or changing the use of the medicines can reduce falls
- includes required readings on:
- general considerations in managing medicines in older people
- stopping medicines as part of medicines optimisation review and modification.
Topic 9 – Improving strength and balance to prevent falls
This topic explains how exercise helps to prevent falls in older people, in particular how:
- certain types of exercise programme are effective in reducing the number of older people who have a fall and the number of falls that older people have
- exercises designed to improve older people’s balance and increase their strength help reduce the risk that they will fall.
Topic 10 – An integrated approach to falls in older people: what part can you play?
- includes themes of coordinated care, patient experience and quality of care
- asks you to look at what you can do within your sphere of influence and networks to use the evidence to improve practice and service provision to reduce harm from falls
- includes required readings that:
- look at the meaning of person-centred care for people with multiple health problems
- conveys practical wisdom you can use for projects to improve the quality of health care, and are examples taken from real life.